OSHA has issued a bulletin under its Temporary Worker  Initiative to instruct staffing agencies and companies that  hire temporary workers on their recordkeeping  responsibilities. The agency’s Temporary Worker Initiative  combines enforcement, outreach and training.  It was  launched because temporary workers were suffering  serious or fatal injuries, many during their first days on the  job.  The bulletin is the first in a series of guidance  documents intended to raise awareness about OSHA  compliance requirements regarding temporary workers. OSHA’s 300 log is used to record injuries and illnesses.  In  most cases, the agency instructs the log should be  completed by the host employer if an injury or illness  occurs to a temporary worker.  That is because OSHA  believes recordkeeping duties fall to whoever supervises  the temporary worker on a day-to-day basis and, in most  cases, that is the host employer.  

OSHA defines supervision as “the details, means, methods,  and processes by which the work is to be accomplished.”   It considers an employer to be performing day-to-day  supervision when that employer controls conditions  presenting potential hazards and directs the worker’s  activities around those hazards.

OSHA also requires that information about injuries and  illnesses be shared regularly. For instance, when a  temporary worker sustains an injury known to the host  employer, the information should be shared with the  staffing agency and vice versa.  Good communication  allows both employers to focus on eliminating hazards and  provide appropriate training to prevent future injuries, the  agency said.

Regarding general safety and health responsibilities, OSHA  believes both employers have duties when a staffing  agency provides temporary workers to its client, the host  employer.  Accordingly, OSHA holds both responsible for  determining the conditions of employment and for complying with the law to some degree.

The agency recommends both employers consider which  workplace safety provisions they are in the best position to  implement.  Generally, staffing agencies can provide basic  safety and health training and information about rights  and responsibilities under the OSH Act.  The host  employer should train temporary workers on specific  hazards they will encounter at the worksite and procedures  for working safely.  

OSHA stresses that every situation is different, though. Therefore, the two employers should coordinate their  efforts and agree on safety responsibilities in a contract.